Yeah. It's this game again. Dark Arisen is not actually a new game, it's the same game of last year except with a new area and a new hard mode. So I guess you'd call it an expansion pack. Or an updated rerelease. Either way, since I liked Dragon's Dogma I was cool with buying and playing this game again. Oh, what's that you're saying? Since I already reviewed the game last year I don't need to review it again? Well too fucking bad 'cause I'm reviewing it again anyway. You can't stop me. But seriously, playing a game twice does a lot to improve your judgement of it, you pick up on more stuff and your opinions have a lot more time to mature. Not that anything here is opinion. This is all hard objective truth bitches. I give it to you straight. Raw. No condom.
But since I did already review this game, instead of going over what I already talked about last time, I'll be expanding on and talking about new things. So you can treat this review and the previous one combined as a more thorough Dragon's Dogma mega review or some shit, I don't care.
Before I get into the game proper though, let me just say that, yes, Capcom is selling the same game twice (for those willing to buy it), and no, this is NOT a bad thing. In fact, we need more of this. Yeah, I said it. We need more companies updating their games and releasing them a second time. Not just because it allows them to earn more money if the game they're rereleasing was really good, but because it potentially allows a good game to become great, and a great game to become amazing. It's no secret that the best games come from improving on an already established base rather than some totally new lightning in a bottle idea. And what could be more established than an already completed game? Of course, not all games deserve a rerelease. Some games just plain suck shit and should be scrapped. But just to give an example, the recent Metal Gear Rising is a game that is SO CLOSE to being amazing. An updated rerelease would be perfect for it, and it kills me inside to know it will never get one. So stop bitching about companies double dipping. You assholes are the reason we never got Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 on Wii.
Of course, the problem with Dark Arisen is that Capcom forgot to, y'know, ACTUALLY FUCKING IMPROVE ON IT. In fact, let's start with a clear downgrade that becomes apparent right from the very beginning. They removed Into Free, the opening theme they used for the original Dragon's Dogma. MOTHERFUCKERS. That song was godlike! Instead they replaced it with some boring bullshit. Oh sure, some people complained that the song didn't fit with the game, but those people are bitches.
Anyway, moving on. Since I played Dragon's Dogma the first time around with a male character, I decided to play as a female this time. I had always been curious of how certain scenes in the game would play out differently if you were female, especially because there's a female-only quest (although you can still do it as male by cross dressing) and ogres are more aggressive to women than men. So I was looking forward to these new scenes but guess fucking what. THEY DON'T EXIST. Every single fucking scene plays out exactly the same regardless of your sex, even when it's completely absurd for it to be that way.
Take the quest where that fucking slut duchess tells you to sneak into her bedchamber at night and the duke finds you. Now, if you're a man obviously this is gonna seem very bad. She starts screaming and accuses you of sneaking in to rape her and tells the duke to throw you in the dungeon so she gets off the hook. This is a total bitch move, but at least it makes sense. The problem is that she does the EXACT SAME THING if you're female. What the fuck? Excuse me, I'm going to rape you? WITH WHAT? I don't have a penis to rape you with and I don't have a strap-on either, search me. But no, seriously, finding the duchess in her room at night talking with a man is not the same situation as finding her talking with another woman. And don't try to bring any stupid gender equality shit into this like "Ooh you're so bigoted that you think a woman can't rape and that she can't be cheating on her husband with another woman". Firstly shut the fuck up, this is a medieval setting, a medieval society would not react in the same way to both of these scenarios. Secondly yeah I am bigoted, what you gonna do about it bitch? Yeah get outta here. Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman as god intended! It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve! But seriously, couldn't she have just said I was over for a cup of tea or some girl talk or something? Christ.
And then when I'm getting whipped in the dungeon the retard guard is like "Oh, wanted to have a turn in the sheets with His Grace's own wife?" Fuck you. You expect me to believe this is all some progressive gender equality play by Capcom? Fucking PATHETIC is what it is. Lazy and cheap. Don't even get me started on how later on when you save the slut duchess she and your character kiss and make out and probably have a quick fuck on the bed offscreen even though I was never asked whether my character was gay, let alone whether I agreed to have an affair with this bitch. Shit pisses me off. Even I could do a better job than this and I'm like the laziest fucker alive. You wanna see how to masterfully handle the differences between a male and female protagonist, check Persona 3 Portable.
Next, you may remember that I mentioned this game having a new hard mode. I'm always a fan of hard modes and one of Dragon's Dogma's flaws was that it was too easy, so this sounded like a great addition. Of course, as usual Cheapcom can't do anything right. The truth is that hard mode doesn't add much to the game. It doubles or triples the damage dealt to you, and doubles the stamina your skills consume. However, for some incomprehensible reason hard mode also makes it so that you earn FAR more gold and exp so you end up overleveling even quicker. Who the hell comes up with this shit? I guess it makes it so that you get one-shotted a lot early on. Also makes it so that early on melee jobs are hardly worth it because one stray hit is a game over, and as I said in my previous review, it's not like the combat in this game is up to the advertised standard. Compared to melee the ranged jobs are just so much safer and better. I fought my first few ogres at a very low level as a Fighter and they killed me probably like 20 times because getting one-shotted by anything makes Fighter so underpowered when you could just troll with Strider. Of course, since enemies shit gold and exp in hard mode, these ogres and other one-shotting enemies very quickly turn into weakass pussies. Let alone if you're using a cheap class like ranger.
This brings me to my next point, which is that this game is still way too easy and the reasons for this are several, but mostly boil down to the game giving you too easy access to too much cheap, broken shit:
1) As I said above, increasing gold and exp on hard mode is pretty batshit.
2) Some classes are way too cheap and overpowered. Namely, Ranger and Mystic Knight. I mean holy shit, Ranger can do such absurd amounts of DPS and from so far away that you're practically never in harm's way. How can those poor helpless enemies compete?
3) Curatives are too plentiful and too easy to use. Now, I'm not arguing to take them out completely, this is an RPG after all, but the way it is right now, you have practically a limitless supply and you can use them at literally any time including the middle of a fight, including in the middle of being grabbed by an enemy or any other moment. They also go into effect instantly and the game is paused while you're doing this. Shit needs toning down. Some sort of limiter like not letting you use items in the middle of the fight would go a long way.
4) You think curatives are bad? Bitch you ain't seen shit. Aside from that you have wakestones, items that instantly revive you upon death like a bottled fairy in Zelda. This sort of item shouldn't exist at ALL, but to make matters worse the game shits them out to the point where late in the game I had hundreds of the fuckers. Not even Satan himself would have enough patience to kill a bitch a hundred times, what chance do these monsters have? By the way, Satan, you still owe me you son of a bitch.
5) The forger is too broken. You know how online games turn into pure chaos when somebody finds a way to dupe items because it's such a broken ability to have? Welp, Dragon's Dogma has that ability built right into the game. By paying the forger a fee you can dupe almost any item in the game. Need more of that rare item that heals you completely? Well how about you make infinity of them! And since enemies shit gold in hard mode, the fee means nothing to you!
But that's enough listing, Cheapcom should be able to figure all this shit out on their own. Just kidding, anybody retarded enough to outsource DMC to Ninja Theory instead of Platinum Games obviously wouldn't even be able to figure out how to get their heads out of their asses.
Aaanyway. Dark Arisen actually improves upon Dragon's Dogma in one small way: They give you a lot more port crystals than before, allowing you to teleport to different places of the world instantly instead of having to run most of the time. This is convenient and appreciated.
But let's get to the actual Dark Arisen content. How is it? Well, it's... a bit more content. That's pretty much it. Dark Arisen doesn't improve Dragon's Dogma, it just gives you a little more. The new area is a dungeon that's way bigger than any in the game, but still isn't terribly big, so I wouldn't recommend playing only for this new content. It has a much more dungeon crawly feel than the main game, which is fine by me because I like dungeons more than the wilderness. Aesthetically it's a lot darker too, with a lot of blood, darkness, corpses, torture chambers, etc. The bad news is that Capcom are a buncha lazy FUCKS and reuse a lot of the same rooms just with different treasures and enemies and maybe slight variations here and there. The new area is made for people who are already near endgame so the new monsters are waaaay stronger than anything in the main game. Note that I said stronger and not harder, because as I said above, it's pretty much impossible for this game to be hard without some fundamental changes. But yeah, mostly these new enemies just have SO GOD DAMN MUCH HP that you have to be pretty high level to damage them at any decent clip. By far the biggest offender is one of the new bosses, Death, who took me like an entire hour to kill (and he gives so much exp that you end up leveling 5 times in a row). You thought you were doing shitloads of damage in the original game? These Dark Arisen monsters don't give two SHITS about your damage.
There seems to be a bigger emphasis on hunting monsters for materials to upgrade your gear. Dark Arisen adds two new tiers of upgrades for every piece of equipment (as well as adding a lot of totally new equipment) and the power difference between tiers is significant, so getting your shit upgraded is very important to make these new monsters more manageable, maybe even moreso than just leveling up. It's nice to see the enemies that used to take so long to kill take less and less time as you progress and get stronger. There's also new quests, some of which make you return to old areas, and something I thought was pretty cool was that gold is useless in the new area, instead you use rift crystals. This was a doubly good decision, first because you get WAY too much gold throughout the game and secondly because rift crystals were utterly useless in the original game, so it's nice to see them finally getting some use.
Overall though Dark Arisen doesn't offer any of the improvements that Dragon's Dogma needed, and the new content doesn't really make the game any better. It's still a good game in general, so I enjoyed playing it a second time, but don't get this expecting the new stuff to be worth it by itself.
Final Verdict: B
Final Playtime: 195 hours